Kohler 14 RES Generator Locker Rotor: Continuous Issue

pvoffgridpvoffgrid Solar Expert Posts: 39 ✭✭
Hi, 

My Kohler 14 RES generator will not start automatically due to a LR (locked rotor) error code.

In December 2017 the original, 16 year old Kohler 11RMY generator for my off-grid house, was replaced with a Kohler 14 RES/original version DC2 controller generator.  It worked beautifully from install until sometime this summer.  I returned on July 29 from a long term out of the country job assignment to my wife telling me, "I don't know why the generator won't start when the voltage gets low".  I checked the generator and saw the LR code on the display.  

I cleared the error code on the generator and cleared the resulting error code on the two Trace SW5548 inverters and tried to manually start the generator.  It cranked for 3 seconds and threw the LR error code.  I cleared the error code and this time it started and ran so I shut it off manually and placed it back into the auto start mode.  The inverters immediately started the generator automatically, and it charged the 24 2-volt Sun Xtender PVX-915T batteries.  

A few days later I had the same error on the generator and went thru the same steps: clear error on the generator & inverters, manually start the generator, put generator in auto mode, and inverters auto start the generator and batteries charge.  And, rinse & repeat every few days..I go thru the same steps every few days.

I owe approximately $1,300 in generator repair shop diagnostic service calls and replacement parts with no resolution in sight ($790 plus another 3 hour service call, so whatever that totals to now).  The stepper motor (governor) was replaced with no change.  The original motor was put back on the generator.  The magnetic pick-up (speed sensor) was replaced but no change.  I do not have any more money to spend on this without getting it solved.  Once the code is cleared, the generator will start automatically but once it sits for a few days, the LR code comes back.

The generator repair tech is now telling me the inverters are the problem.  He also told me the stepper motor was the issue. He also told me the mag pick-up was the issue.  He also said:
1)  He was the #1 residential repairman for Kohler distributor (Loftus) for 6 years and they would tell him to do everything he is doing to diagnose the issue if he were to call them
2)  Loftus would charge $195 per hour to send a tech guy here to work on my generator and it is better to have him at $115 per hour
3)  This is an intermittent issue and he can't duplicate it. However, he has seen the LR code on the generator when he comes out
4)  He says the inverters are the issue: pins #3 & 4 should not have any voltage coming from the inverter when the generator is off but there is constant voltage of about 12 volts.  He said the generator is a open/closed circuit and when the inverters should send voltage to the generator only when it needs to start.  He thinks because he cannot find anything wrong on the generator it has to be the inverters. He believes the constant voltage did something to the control board. 

I am at a loss.  I can barely read an electrical meter.  The Kohler manual states if the control board cannot pick up engine speed in the 1st 3 seconds of cranking it will stop and give the LR code until it is cleared.  The inverters have a 5-start generator cycle, meaning they send the generator start signal 5 times before they error out.  At that point the batteries just drop in voltage until the inverters shut the power to the house off or I see that the voltage is low, and go to manually start the generator.

Does anyone have a clue as to what causes this? Kohler's customer service is almost non-existent as they refer generator owners to the distributors and repair companies.  I am at the point where I think I should cut my losses and get rid of this generator and get a different one. $1,300 towards an unresolved issue and new generators can be bought for $4,000 - $5,000, and used generators like this one for $2,400?

48v Off-Grid: nope, now down to 46v temporarily 

Modules: 5.395 kW:

(16) Kyocera KC130TM

(12) Kyocera KD-210GX-LPU

(3) Kyocera KU265-6MCA 

Batteries:

(24) SunXtender PVX-9150T; - nope, now down to (23) cells temporarily  - removed bad battery 

Racks:

(2) Zomework trackers (KC130TM modules, 8 per tracker, landscape position) - facing due south

(1) Unirac ground mounted fixed rack (all KD210 modules, landscape position) - facing slightly southwest

(1) Unirac roof mounted fixed rack (all KU265 modules, landscape postion) - facing due south

Inverters:

(2) Trace SW5548

Charge Controllers:

(1) Outback MX60 - for (16) KC130 modules 

(1) Flexmax60 - for (12) KD210 modules

(1) Flexmax60 - for (3) KU265 modules

Generator:

(1) Kohler 14RESA propane

Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,010 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Given it worked fine for 6mos, it seems to me something happened or was changed in July.

    You haven't mentioned making any changes to wiring or settings prior to the problem arising, so I assume there were none. This seems to leave something having happened in July.

    Is July a lightning prone season in your location? If so, do you have protection devices and have they been checked? Lightning damage can sometimes put gremlins into electronic gear even if outright destruction was avoided.

    I don't know enough about this AGS to help specifically. In general though, putting 12v on pin(s) momentarily to start sounds right, triggering a normally open relay to close and energize ignition.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • pvoffgridpvoffgrid Solar Expert Posts: 39 ✭✭
    No changes were made to my knowledge.  I have never noticed any specific month to be more lightning prone than others.  The lightning protection devices appear to be fine upon visual inspection.  My PV company contacts at Experienced Solar  (used to work for Direct Power & Water)  are going look into whether the AC board in the Xantrex SW5548 inverters is to let voltage pass at all times or if there is an issue on the board, and whether constant voltage would cause an issue with the generator, such as the locked rotor fault code.

    48v Off-Grid: nope, now down to 46v temporarily 

    Modules: 5.395 kW:

    (16) Kyocera KC130TM

    (12) Kyocera KD-210GX-LPU

    (3) Kyocera KU265-6MCA 

    Batteries:

    (24) SunXtender PVX-9150T; - nope, now down to (23) cells temporarily  - removed bad battery 

    Racks:

    (2) Zomework trackers (KC130TM modules, 8 per tracker, landscape position) - facing due south

    (1) Unirac ground mounted fixed rack (all KD210 modules, landscape position) - facing slightly southwest

    (1) Unirac roof mounted fixed rack (all KU265 modules, landscape postion) - facing due south

    Inverters:

    (2) Trace SW5548

    Charge Controllers:

    (1) Outback MX60 - for (16) KC130 modules 

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (12) KD210 modules

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (3) KU265 modules

    Generator:

    (1) Kohler 14RESA propane

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,142 admin
    edited September 18 #4
    The only generic thing I can suggest--Check the 12 volt starting battery voltage, and make sure you got a solid 12 volts all the way to the electronics module input power--Particularly during cranking.

    Check and make sure that all of the + power and - grounding connections are solid (nothing shaken loose).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 2,401 ✭✭✭✭✭
    BB. said:
    The only generic thing I can suggest--Check the 12 volt starting battery voltage, and make sure you got a solid 12 volts all the way to the electronics module input power--Particularly during cranking.

    Check and make sure that all of the + power and - grounding connections are solid (nothing shaken loose).

    -Bill
    In addition to Bills suggestions, also check all sensor wire connectors, intermittent faults are notoriously difficult to trace, but based on information provided I would think it's unlikely to be caused by the inverter.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    900W  3 × 300W No name brand Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal as a backup system. 
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergencies and welding.
  • mcnutt13579mcnutt13579 Registered Users Posts: 64 ✭✭
    The 14RESA (that's what it really is, right?) gets its speed (engine rotation) sensing from the auxiliary windings (55 and 66).  Basically it is just sensing ac power which is kind of marginal at cranking speed.

    But they are normally a very reliable generator.

    I wonder also if brush resistance is a problem.  If it is not getting good field current during cranking it could see lack of signal.

    I do wonder on the 12V "coming from" the inverter on 3 and 4.  SW5548 do not have the capacity to send any voltage to the generator.  Normally the generator sends out positive voltage on one and the inverter returns it on the other when it wants the generator to start.  So you should see voltage (not sure what voltage, don't have one to test at the moment) across 3 and 4 when the generator is not running.  And zero voltage when it is commanded to run because the switch is closed.

    For many technicians this is super advanced troubleshooting and they would never understand it.  Although it should be basic knowledge.

    I would inspect the brushes and slip rings first.  Measure the total rotor circuit resistance.  And measure the Ac voltage across 55 and 66 second, when cranking, when you think it is going to fail.

    This is the kind of problem you are going to have to "sneak up on".  Catch it in the act.  Very difficult.  If you are not experienced it will be even more so.  I don't know what to say beyond that.  That is a hazard of living off grid.  Cheap generators require a little more TLC.  The 11RMY was also a good one but could have done the same thing to you.

    Isn't this unit still under warranty anyway?
  • pvoffgridpvoffgrid Solar Expert Posts: 39 ✭✭
    Hi, Sorry for the delays but I have not checked the forum recently, as I thought I would get a email notice when reply would be posted.  I came here to give an update.  I still have the issue but is now partially resolved (fuel supply), and have 2 new questions. And, thi sis long but I answered all the questions/suggestions.

    First, to answer the questions & suggestions (THANKS, answers italicized)
    BB and mcgivor and mcnutt13579
    1) Check the 12 volt starting battery voltage: generator has a trickle charge built in and plugged in to 120v 24/7
    2) Make sure you got a solid 12 volts all the way to the electronics module input power--Particularly during cranking - not sure how to check this...lift the controller/module and check something on the bottom of the board while the generator cranks?  Or, disassemble the generator (pretty much required to get to the starter on the backside) and check for voltage at the starter?
    3) Check and make sure that all of the + power and - grounding connections are solid (nothing shaken loose) - generator repair tech has or should have done this..I know he has looked at the starter and taken voltage readings there as he did the last time he was up to the house, but not during cranking
    4)  Also check all sensor wire connectors, intermittent faults are notoriously difficult to trace, but based on information provided I would think it's unlikely to be caused by the inverter.- generator repair tech has done all this...replaced mag pick-up and made sure connectors were solidly connected...what other sensors would need to be checked?
    5) It is a 14RES...my understanding from Kohler is the only difference between the RES and RESA is that the RESAs were sold in retail stores and have a different controller
    6) I wonder also if brush resistance is a problem.  If it is not getting good field current during cranking it could see lack of signal: I am unsure how to check this
    7)  I do wonder on the 12V "coming from" the inverter on 3 and 4.  SW5548 do not have the capacity to send any voltage to the generator.  Normally the generator sends out positive voltage on one and the inverter returns it on the other when it wants the generator to start.  So you should see voltage (not sure what voltage, don't have one to test at the moment) across 3 and 4 when the generator is not running.  And zero voltage when it is commanded to run because the switch is closed. Ok, the next time I have an LR code, I will remove the side access panel, put the meter on #3  & #4 to measure the voltage with no auto start signal from the inverter, have my buddy clear all error codes on the generator & inverters, and then measure the voltage #3 & #4 when the auto start signal is sent by the inverters.  The current situation now is approx. 12.x v across #3 & #4 at all times. 
    8) For many technicians this is super advanced troubleshooting and they would never understand it.  Although it should be basic knowledge. Per my generator repair guy, he is the most advanced and skilled home generator repair guy that Lofton had for the 6 years he worked for them.  Those are his words,not mine.
    9)  I would inspect the brushes and slip rings first.  Measure the total rotor circuit resistance.  And measure the Ac voltage across 55 and 66 second, when cranking, when you think it is going to fail.: Not sure how to do this, and also not sure what 55 and 66 second means.
    10 ) This is the kind of problem you are going to have to "sneak up on".  Catch it in the act.  Very difficult.  If you are not experienced it will be even more so.  I don't know what to say beyond that.  That is a hazard of living off grid.  Cheap generators require a little more TLC.  The 11RMY was also a good one but could have done the same thing to you. Agreed...always makes me laugh when people learn I live off-grid and then tell me "No utility payments, How lucky! I hate paying my electricity bill each month,  It is so expensive!"  HAH!! Little do the know...battery purchase every 5 - 10 years, equipment failure: charge controllers, panels, lightening protection, battery failure, generator issues...I envy many of you given your skills, as compared to me knowing just enough to get by.  I am amazed, however, at how much I do know compared to some in the industry.  One of my favorites is one guy at Affordable Solar here in Albuquerque tell me I could not add additional PV modules to my system because I had to add all the modules I wanted at he initial installation.    The 11RMY  would start and run for 10 seconds or so, then quit.  I think it was an oil pressure sensor or over-rev sensor issue as oil sits in the bottom of the pan, is thicker when cold, generator starts, over revs, sensor notices the over rev, shuts the generator down, and errors out.  IMHO, Kohler should rethink their software coding and allow a second attempt before erroring out.  That would have solved all my issues LOL

    New question #1:  I am curious about your suggestions: if any of those thoughts were the problem, why would it only turn out to be occurring on the inverter auto start process but not on the manual start process after I cleared the LR error code?

    New question #2: Is 4 - 6 pounds of air too much or just right to pressurize the fuel line?  I want to put a Shrader valve pipe connection in-line with the fuel line to completely rule out any more fuel leaks.  I want to disconnect the new yellow flex line at the ball valve on the pipe coming form the propane tank and regulator and put the Shrader valve fitting there.  That way, the entire line from outside the generator is pressurized, including the new yellow flex line. However, my buddies and I are unsure of the amount to pressurize the regulator, etc as we do not want to chance ruining a diaphragm or seal.  

    As I have said & believed all along, the crank and fail to start sounds like a fuel supply issue to me.  It sounds like my early 1960's cars and my Honda motorcycle that all needed chokes to start: crank, just about fire, then stop, and try again. I believed the propane was leaking out of the line enough that there was not enough to start.  And, with the cranking & fail to start, enough propane was drawn into the line that the next start attempt was always successful.  So, going with that that thought I did more investigation.

    1st, I noticed the LR code would appear just about 1 hour after having started and run. 
    Clear the LR code
    Manual run = crank and fail to start
    Clear the LR code
    Manual run = crank and start successfully

    I sprayed the gas line outside the generator and inside the generator, and found a leak outside the generator in the line the professionals had installed when they installed the generator.  See the pictures and video.  

    I replaced the gas line with one 3' long, yellow flex pipe, manually started the generator, and then let it set for 2 hours.  Generator started immediately and I thought I had fixed the problem.

    Wrong.  After sitting overnight, there was another LR code this morning.  However, there is a big difference now.  After clearing the LR code, the generator starts on the very 1st attempt.  Previously, after clearing the LR code, the generator would fail to start, throw the LR code again, and then start on the 2nd attempt.  So, I believe replacing the original gas line with the flex line solved part of the problem.  

    48v Off-Grid: nope, now down to 46v temporarily 

    Modules: 5.395 kW:

    (16) Kyocera KC130TM

    (12) Kyocera KD-210GX-LPU

    (3) Kyocera KU265-6MCA 

    Batteries:

    (24) SunXtender PVX-9150T; - nope, now down to (23) cells temporarily  - removed bad battery 

    Racks:

    (2) Zomework trackers (KC130TM modules, 8 per tracker, landscape position) - facing due south

    (1) Unirac ground mounted fixed rack (all KD210 modules, landscape position) - facing slightly southwest

    (1) Unirac roof mounted fixed rack (all KU265 modules, landscape postion) - facing due south

    Inverters:

    (2) Trace SW5548

    Charge Controllers:

    (1) Outback MX60 - for (16) KC130 modules 

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (12) KD210 modules

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (3) KU265 modules

    Generator:

    (1) Kohler 14RESA propane

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,011 ✭✭✭✭
    4 psi is MORE than enough.  I use simple gravity feed.   Many components are not designed for pressure, and easy to flood carb with too much pressure.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • pvoffgridpvoffgrid Solar Expert Posts: 39 ✭✭
    mike95490  thanks....I will stick to 3 lbs then...not sure how gravity feed would work to check for leaks but I know pressurizing the line should work...3 lbs at say 6 pm, 1 lb at say 10 pm, leak.....that is how my mind works as I believe it should be a closed system when the generator is not running

    48v Off-Grid: nope, now down to 46v temporarily 

    Modules: 5.395 kW:

    (16) Kyocera KC130TM

    (12) Kyocera KD-210GX-LPU

    (3) Kyocera KU265-6MCA 

    Batteries:

    (24) SunXtender PVX-9150T; - nope, now down to (23) cells temporarily  - removed bad battery 

    Racks:

    (2) Zomework trackers (KC130TM modules, 8 per tracker, landscape position) - facing due south

    (1) Unirac ground mounted fixed rack (all KD210 modules, landscape position) - facing slightly southwest

    (1) Unirac roof mounted fixed rack (all KU265 modules, landscape postion) - facing due south

    Inverters:

    (2) Trace SW5548

    Charge Controllers:

    (1) Outback MX60 - for (16) KC130 modules 

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (12) KD210 modules

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (3) KU265 modules

    Generator:

    (1) Kohler 14RESA propane

  • AguarancherAguarancher Solar Expert Posts: 276 ✭✭✭
    edited September 24 #10
    I think Mike might have missed that you are using propane and not gasoline when he mentioned gravity feed. Propane after the regulator is measured by inches of water. Be very careful when attempting to adjust your regulator. This is the basic info for propane and applies to your application "There are 27.7 inches of water column (wc) pressure in 1 PSI of pressure. So 7"wc is about 1/4 PSI. This is the normal pressure that household natural gas is delivered. The normal delivery on propane (LP), for household use is 11"wc or a little more than 1/3 PSI"

    additional info: should add that the only way to accurately measure pressure is with a manometer. Something like this will work

    https://www.amazon.com/Yellow-Jacket-78075-Water-Manometer/dp/B0038QHTK2/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1537804111&sr=8-8&keywords=Manometer

    also you should have a drop leg on the propane line before it enters the generator, this collects any moisture from the propane line,



  • mcnutt13579mcnutt13579 Registered Users Posts: 64 ✭✭
    About 95% certain the LOCKED ROTOR code CANNOT be set by a start-then-die problem. That would result in a different code, something like loss of speed or loss of RPM.

    LOCKED ROTOR is when it checks for rotation 1 or 2 seconds after it has sent the signal to the starter and it is looking for a very weak and very slow AC signal on 55-66 and does not see it.

    One important issue is what is the firmware revision.  These kind of issues often can be fixed in firmware updates.  Check the Kohler web site, I believe it will be there for you.
  • pvoffgridpvoffgrid Solar Expert Posts: 39 ✭✭
    Aguarancher: Thanks for the info.  I confirmed with my propane supplier rep this morning that 3 lbs psi of air probably would have damaged the generator regulator.  He is coming to the house this Thursday late afternoon with his water gauge to test the system in the afternoon, and he is going to leave the gauge on overnight so I can check it in the morning.

    mcnutt13579  I was unable to find the firmware version on the Kohler website but I did find an email from Kohler to their residential distributors dated October 2014 that stated the firmware version at that time was 6.2.0. The email also provided three places to download the firmware so I went there and downloaded it.  It appears the current firmware version is 6.12.2 as that is what downloaded.  However, I am unable to confirm the firmware on the generator as I do not know how to do that.  When the generator runs the displays scrolls thru different codes & #'s, and one of the #'s is 6126 (no decimals) so is that the firmware?  I will call Kohler tomorrow to see if there is a button press combination to get the firmware version without running the generator.  Additionally, I went thru the posts and I do not see where the LR code appears after a "generator-start-then-die" problem.  The generator cranks for about 3 seconds, FAILS to start, and gives the LR error code.  I clear the error code, press "run" to manually start the generator or "auto" and the generator starts successfully at that time...It starts successfully on the 2nd attempt.  The first attempt is cranking only when the LR code appears.  Also, after replacing the fuel line, the generator will start at the first  attempt to start after clearing the LR code, not the second after the second attempt which it had been doing.  So, replacing the gas line partially fixed the issue.

    As an update, 2 hours or 8 hours after a successful start and run, no matter how long the generator runs, the generator will start on the first attempt, either by the manual or automatic (inverter) start process.  First time successful start and NO LR code.  However, it fails to start in the morning and gives the LR code.  My propane service rep and I both think after talking on the phone today the the propane pressure is borderline what is needed to start the generator, or that there is still a leak somewhere that drops the pressure too low.  As he explained, as temperatures rise during the day, the propane pressure increases and that is probably why it starts all day with either the manual or the automatic process.  However, as temperatures drop in the morning, the propane pressure also drops so there may not be enough pressure to start the generator in either the manual or automatic process.  And, after the cranking and failed start, there is now enough pressure to start successfully on the 2nd attempt.  We will confirm this Thursday late afternoon and Friday Monsignor of this week.

    Thanks again for the thoughts and suggestions.  As was said earlier, this is going to take sneaking up on it to resolve this issue.

    48v Off-Grid: nope, now down to 46v temporarily 

    Modules: 5.395 kW:

    (16) Kyocera KC130TM

    (12) Kyocera KD-210GX-LPU

    (3) Kyocera KU265-6MCA 

    Batteries:

    (24) SunXtender PVX-9150T; - nope, now down to (23) cells temporarily  - removed bad battery 

    Racks:

    (2) Zomework trackers (KC130TM modules, 8 per tracker, landscape position) - facing due south

    (1) Unirac ground mounted fixed rack (all KD210 modules, landscape position) - facing slightly southwest

    (1) Unirac roof mounted fixed rack (all KU265 modules, landscape postion) - facing due south

    Inverters:

    (2) Trace SW5548

    Charge Controllers:

    (1) Outback MX60 - for (16) KC130 modules 

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (12) KD210 modules

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (3) KU265 modules

    Generator:

    (1) Kohler 14RESA propane

  • mcnutt13579mcnutt13579 Registered Users Posts: 64 ✭✭
    Even if you completely SHUT OFF the propane, if it is behaving correctly it will crank for something like 15-30 seconds and then cool the starter down.  Then recycle a couple more times before it gives up on some kind of "failure to start" code.

    You can demonstrate this behavior for yourself by simply getting it to run the way you have been doing, then shut it down, turn off the gas and try to start it.  You will see what I mean.

    "Locked rotor" code means the controller does not think it sees any rotation within 2 or 3 seconds.  It does this to save burning up the starter cranking a stuck engine or grinding the teeth if it did not engage the flywheel.

    The problem either is in the rotor or associated parts, the main generator auxiliary winding 55-66, or the controller itself.  (Or possibly wiring harness)

    All of those are difficult for a casual user to diagnose themselves.
  • pvoffgridpvoffgrid Solar Expert Posts: 39 ✭✭
    The propane feed was at 10.5" at the solenoid inlet, and dropped down to 9.5" upon the generator starting.  The propane was adjusted up to 14" and dropped down to 13" upon the generator starting.  The propane was dropped down to 10" and dropped down to 9" upon starting.  The solenoid is opening up ASAP because the manometer is at zero when not running, and immediately jumps up to 9", 10" 13", whatever it is set at, immediately upon cranking.  

    What are the rotor's associated parts?  

    Are you talking about the actual [email protected] controller, the control board, that was replaced before I bought the generator?

    Difficult for me to diagnose yes but what else to do? I am out of money as I now owe the propane service guy for his time to come out.  The good thing about him coming out is that we did diagnose a small leak at the regulator that feeds the generator. So, we will replace that regulator, plus the similar one that feeds the house, and put more clamps on the propane lines to ensure the home inspector (we want to sell the house) cannot find anything with the propane to write up.

    We spoke to Loftin in Phoenix today and they said it could be the starter or starter solenoid as it sends a signal  back to the DC2 controller.  The initial generator repair guy used his meter on the starter and solenoid and said it was fine, but then scratched his head and said but maybe it could be that.  I cannot keep just throwing money at this thing just in case something works.  I need a definitive answer so I did not replace either the starter or solenoid.  He had already said it was the stepper motor, then he said it was the mag pickup. Finally,he said it could be the starter or starter solenoid.  Could be??? It cranks just fine, every single time.

    Question:  can the Garretson Model KN regulator and the Kohler fuel metering valve 16807 mounted on top of the Garretson regulator be removed completely? After talking with Loftin, and watching a video on YouTube about the Garretson regulator, I get the impression the Garretson and the electric fuel solenoid just in front of the Garretson are back-ups to each other.  The solenoid will not allow propane to pass thru until it gets a signal.  The Garretson will not allow propane to pass thru unless there is negative pressure on the outlet side of the regulator, or unless the manual primer button is pushed. There is already a regulator outside the generator that is limiting the propane pressure to whatever we set it at...9" - 14"  It seems to me I could remove the Garretson & Kohler fuel metering valve and just use the external regulator and the fuel solenoid.  Or, at the very least, remove the fuel metering valve as perhaps it is not creating enough of a vacuum o the outlet side of the Garreton regulator to let fuel flow, but after the initial crank and failed start, now there is more than enough vacuum to open the regulator on the 2nd crank and start attempt.

    Or, perhaps it is winding 55-66, the rotor or associated parts, or the controller.  This is just plain BS that the professionals cannot solve this, cannot tell me.."let us take it back to the shop and check things out & here is a loaner generator while we do that"..no, they just want to keep charging me $115 per hour to be blindfolded and throw darts at balloons on the wall!  

    48v Off-Grid: nope, now down to 46v temporarily 

    Modules: 5.395 kW:

    (16) Kyocera KC130TM

    (12) Kyocera KD-210GX-LPU

    (3) Kyocera KU265-6MCA 

    Batteries:

    (24) SunXtender PVX-9150T; - nope, now down to (23) cells temporarily  - removed bad battery 

    Racks:

    (2) Zomework trackers (KC130TM modules, 8 per tracker, landscape position) - facing due south

    (1) Unirac ground mounted fixed rack (all KD210 modules, landscape position) - facing slightly southwest

    (1) Unirac roof mounted fixed rack (all KU265 modules, landscape postion) - facing due south

    Inverters:

    (2) Trace SW5548

    Charge Controllers:

    (1) Outback MX60 - for (16) KC130 modules 

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (12) KD210 modules

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (3) KU265 modules

    Generator:

    (1) Kohler 14RESA propane

  • pvoffgridpvoffgrid Solar Expert Posts: 39 ✭✭
    mcnutt13579   ok, I did what you suggested:

    I completely SHUT OFF the propane, pushed the run button, and it cranked for 3 seconds and gave the LR error code.  It did not act like you said it would.  I hope this helps narrow down the possibilities.  Listen to the video.  Well, I cannot find the video format to upload, nor can I find it on the forum as what formats can be uploaded.  I have it in wmv and mp4.

    48v Off-Grid: nope, now down to 46v temporarily 

    Modules: 5.395 kW:

    (16) Kyocera KC130TM

    (12) Kyocera KD-210GX-LPU

    (3) Kyocera KU265-6MCA 

    Batteries:

    (24) SunXtender PVX-9150T; - nope, now down to (23) cells temporarily  - removed bad battery 

    Racks:

    (2) Zomework trackers (KC130TM modules, 8 per tracker, landscape position) - facing due south

    (1) Unirac ground mounted fixed rack (all KD210 modules, landscape position) - facing slightly southwest

    (1) Unirac roof mounted fixed rack (all KU265 modules, landscape postion) - facing due south

    Inverters:

    (2) Trace SW5548

    Charge Controllers:

    (1) Outback MX60 - for (16) KC130 modules 

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (12) KD210 modules

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (3) KU265 modules

    Generator:

    (1) Kohler 14RESA propane

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,011 ✭✭✭✭
    Do you have a gmail account, and try uploading the vid to youtube ? post the link here.

    Or bite the bullet and get a real generator like mine :  http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister-Running

    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,142 admin
    edited September 30 #17
    Sounds like the Locked Rotor error is to detect a seized motor or broken drive to alternator.

    Either the wiring from the LR sensor, the sensor itself (if different from AC windings), or the genset controller is having issues.

    I looked around for your engine controller--Not sure this is the correct one:

    http://www.pmtech.org/document_center/20_2250kW_Operation_manual.pdf

    Anyway... It "feels" (to me) like a poor/intermittent harness connection between the "engine cranking sensor" and the controller.

    My humble suggestion is to disconnect the harness between the controller and the engine/alternator and look at each connection (you can even use a set of needle nose pliers to pull lighting on each wire into the socket/receptacle. Look for pins that pull out/are pushed back in the connector. Look for corrosion/browning of pins/plastic. Plug back together and test.

    It is possible to have a cracked solder connection somewhere on the circuit board--But this is not something I would expect you to look for (especially if you do not have schematics/know where the locked rotor signal is generated). You can also look in/around the controller and see if there is a harness connection that you can lift 1/2 way and plug back in (reseat the connectors).

    A couple decades ago, I had a million dollar voice mail computer returned to the factory (and mechanically replaced). We had alarms/over heat sensors on the system and--It turned out--Was a simple/cheap wiring harness assembly error. One of the pins was not fully slid into the housing during cable assembly. The pin backed out of the housing and failed to connect after a few months of operation (open connection/over temp fault). To fix, all that was needed was a new cable (field repair), or just to push the pin fully back into the socket and lock correctly in place.

    I also have a (now) older clothes washing machine with digital controller... It power faults every few years and I just have to reseat the controller connectors to make it work again for several more years.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mcnutt13579mcnutt13579 Registered Users Posts: 64 ✭✭
    pvoffgrid said:
    mcnutt13579   ok, I did what you suggested:

    I completely SHUT OFF the propane, pushed the run button, and it cranked for 3 seconds and gave the LR error code.  It did not act like you said it would.  I hope this helps narrow down the possibilities.  Listen to the video.  Well, I cannot find the video format to upload, nor can I find it on the forum as what formats can be uploaded.  I have it in wmv and mp4.
    You shut off the propane after you had it running a while?  So that it would have otherwise started?  Or was this for the first start of the day when it always has the problem?

    What about warranty coverage?
  • pvoffgridpvoffgrid Solar Expert Posts: 39 ✭✭
    mcnutt13579 said:
    Even if you completely SHUT OFF the propane, if it is behaving correctly it will crank for something like 15-30 seconds and then cool the starter down.  Then recycle a couple more times before it gives up on some kind of "failure to start" code.

    You can demonstrate this behavior for yourself by simply getting it to run the way you have been doing, then shut it down, turn off the gas and try to start it.  You will see what I mean.

    "Locked rotor" code means the controller does not think it sees any rotation within 2 or 3 seconds.  It does this to save burning up the starter cranking a stuck engine or grinding the teeth if it did not engage the flywheel.

    The problem either is in the rotor or associated parts, the main generator auxiliary winding 55-66, or the controller itself.  (Or possibly wiring harness)

    All of those are difficult for a casual user to diagnose themselves.
    I did what you suggested.....tried to start it without gas as you said it would crank for 15-30 seconds.  It did not.  It cranked for 3 seconds then gave the LR code. 

    I just posted my 1st video to YouTube: https//youtu.be/VePpNPjziHE
    And, my 2nd..the banging is me setting things down as I had to go start the generator manually in the dark because it failed to start..LR code    https://youtu.be/2G-MECNiYQU   

    Here are some other videos: https://youtu.be/WHzXF1RCgqE   and   https://youtu.be/k2bnzdPt3Nk




    48v Off-Grid: nope, now down to 46v temporarily 

    Modules: 5.395 kW:

    (16) Kyocera KC130TM

    (12) Kyocera KD-210GX-LPU

    (3) Kyocera KU265-6MCA 

    Batteries:

    (24) SunXtender PVX-9150T; - nope, now down to (23) cells temporarily  - removed bad battery 

    Racks:

    (2) Zomework trackers (KC130TM modules, 8 per tracker, landscape position) - facing due south

    (1) Unirac ground mounted fixed rack (all KD210 modules, landscape position) - facing slightly southwest

    (1) Unirac roof mounted fixed rack (all KU265 modules, landscape postion) - facing due south

    Inverters:

    (2) Trace SW5548

    Charge Controllers:

    (1) Outback MX60 - for (16) KC130 modules 

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (12) KD210 modules

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (3) KU265 modules

    Generator:

    (1) Kohler 14RESA propane

  • mcnutt13579mcnutt13579 Registered Users Posts: 64 ✭✭
    Video #1 does not work.

    But video #2 finally makes me understand that you have a RDC controller and not an RDC2 which would have been expected for a 2017 installed generator.  Did this thing sit on a shelf for years?

    That controller was a very short run until they did the RDC2 and could be problematic.

    I doubt this would fix it, but I would be installing a properly sized gas line.  It should be 3/4 most of the way with the last few feet at 1/2" but none of that skinny stuff in the other videos.

    Forget what I said about 55-66, that is for RDC2 models.

    This unit has a mag pickup as you explained already. 

    **At this point I would be checking the clearance of the MPU to the ring gear and also replace the MPU wiring that goes up to the controller.**

    But there is no clear cut answer to this problem from here, and if it is a flaky controller, no way to really diagnose, and $$$$.
  • pvoffgridpvoffgrid Solar Expert Posts: 39 ✭✭
    Ok, let's try this link.     https://youtu.be/bUqZ5uxnOJY

    It is a original DC2 controller, not an RDC controller.  The RDC2 controller, per Kohler, was sold on the RESA (14kw)  and RESC (20kw) generators.  The RESAL and RESCL models were only sold thru retail stores and had the DC2 controller.  Whew, I was thinking I had written the worn controller in my very 1st post that the but I had not. I had written "...a Kohler 14 RES/original version DC2 controller generator...."

    Did it sit on a shelf? I have no idea.  It was manufactured in July 2011 and as I said early on, it was a used generator with approximately 200 hours .  The hours were unknown as the controller was replaced and once that occurs, the hours go with the old board, and the new board starts counting the hours again from zero.

    The skinny gas line was what the experts installed when they installed the generator in December 2017.  I replaced it with a 3/4 yellow flex line all the way to the generator solenoid.

    MPU?  Magnetic pick-up?  Are you suggesting it may be close enough to start successfully on the 2nd attempt but not the first because it moves?  Replace the MPU wiring because after the first unsuccessful crank it always is jiggled enough to start successfully on the 2nd attempt?  Hmmm, I guess it could be possible.

    How about this.....can I chnage the DC2 controller to the newer revised DC2?  I wonder how the revised DC2 controller is different from the original version....does anyone know the differences?

    I am going to call Kohler tomorrow and get them to tell me specifically what generator I have as the model plate only states 14RES. 

     I may have the wrong controller as the 14 RESA was only sold thru dealers with the RDC2 controller and did not come with a transfer switch.

    The retail models, the RESAL models, had the DC2 controller with the Model RXT Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) .  My generator has the DC2 controller so maybe it has the ATS and perhaps it is interfering with the inverter signal. 

     I would not know why it worked for the first 6 months or so, if it worked that long.  I was gone out of the country for my part-time job from January - July so my wife & daughter probably never noticed or paid that much attention to it.

    I just realized that going thru my notes in the operations manual and reading your post, mcnutt13579 !

    48v Off-Grid: nope, now down to 46v temporarily 

    Modules: 5.395 kW:

    (16) Kyocera KC130TM

    (12) Kyocera KD-210GX-LPU

    (3) Kyocera KU265-6MCA 

    Batteries:

    (24) SunXtender PVX-9150T; - nope, now down to (23) cells temporarily  - removed bad battery 

    Racks:

    (2) Zomework trackers (KC130TM modules, 8 per tracker, landscape position) - facing due south

    (1) Unirac ground mounted fixed rack (all KD210 modules, landscape position) - facing slightly southwest

    (1) Unirac roof mounted fixed rack (all KU265 modules, landscape postion) - facing due south

    Inverters:

    (2) Trace SW5548

    Charge Controllers:

    (1) Outback MX60 - for (16) KC130 modules 

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (12) KD210 modules

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (3) KU265 modules

    Generator:

    (1) Kohler 14RESA propane

  • mcnutt13579mcnutt13579 Registered Users Posts: 64 ✭✭
    edited October 2 #22
    Mostly I have made you beat around the bush because I did not read your original message clearly enough.  Sorry about that.

    One point of correction.  Yours is a DC controller.  Not a DC2.  The DC/RDC were a short lived first generation.  Replaced very shortly after yours was built with the DC2/RDC2.  The rest of what you said is accurate.  The DC was the low tier version for big box sales.


    There is not much internal difference between the big box version and regular version, though.  Just the buttons on the outside.

    The big difference is that the original DC/RDC used mag pickup to tell engine speed and the DC2/RDC2 used AC frequency.

    MPU was very reliable in days gone by with the old generation (ADC2100/ADC-RES) but the population of DC/RDC (1st gen) is low so we don't really know what the deal was with them.

    The fact that your controller got replaced early on is very suspicious, as is the fact that the whole generator got removed.  Gremlins before you got it?  And now you are experiencing gremlins?  Very suspicious.  This generator platform, both the old and current versions, is normally a very reliable choice but you got an in-betweener of some kind.

    The wiring is all different between the 14RES(L) and the 14RESA(L).  Changing from one type of controller to another would be almost guaranteed to come up with a few very strange problems.

    Next thing I would check would be MPU output voltage both at the MPU and at the back of the controller but it is pretty advanced troubleshooting.
  • pvoffgridpvoffgrid Solar Expert Posts: 39 ✭✭
    Boy, time flies when you're having fun. :(  I did not realize this many weeks had passed since my last update.  The issue still exists but given the time constraints I face, we made the decision to deal with this as we can.  So, we manually clear the LR error code, press the Run button, clear the resulting LR code, and then put the generator in automatic mode and let the inverter start the generator.  Eventually I will get back to testing the Mag pick-up voltage as that is where I left off since the description Loftin Equipment proved me on the MPU wires did not match my generator.  Everything else Loftin described was correct and tested as Loftin said it should.  I still believe it is a fuel supply issue.  I will also change the oil on the very odd off-chance the viscosity is affecting the speed during cranking (I know..slim to no chance it is but after learning recently that a bad wheel bearing on Jaguars, BMWs, Mercedes, and Land Rovers can cause a transmission error code I will consider anything at this point)..  I am also going to change the plugs on the off-chance they are burned so that when the generator 1st tries to start there is not enough fuel to to ignite.  Who knows? Grasping at straws and I can do that as good as my local generator repair guys were doing. :(  

    Anyway, no change on the generator front.  I do have another issue that arose today so I will start a new thread on it.  It is always something.

    48v Off-Grid: nope, now down to 46v temporarily 

    Modules: 5.395 kW:

    (16) Kyocera KC130TM

    (12) Kyocera KD-210GX-LPU

    (3) Kyocera KU265-6MCA 

    Batteries:

    (24) SunXtender PVX-9150T; - nope, now down to (23) cells temporarily  - removed bad battery 

    Racks:

    (2) Zomework trackers (KC130TM modules, 8 per tracker, landscape position) - facing due south

    (1) Unirac ground mounted fixed rack (all KD210 modules, landscape position) - facing slightly southwest

    (1) Unirac roof mounted fixed rack (all KU265 modules, landscape postion) - facing due south

    Inverters:

    (2) Trace SW5548

    Charge Controllers:

    (1) Outback MX60 - for (16) KC130 modules 

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (12) KD210 modules

    (1) Flexmax60 - for (3) KU265 modules

    Generator:

    (1) Kohler 14RESA propane

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